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Self-employment skyrockets in NYC

Nearly 250,000 New Yorkers are working for themselves.
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A view of a Downtown NYC office.

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Due to apparent frustrations with the job market, New Yorkers have been taking matters into their own hands, becoming self-employed in the City.

On Monday, a newly-released study by the Center for an Urban Future revealed that NYC is currently home to nearly 250,000 self-employed workers, a segment of the workforce that's increased by 31% since 2000.

"New York City overall is clearly seeing a freelance boom," says Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director at the Center for an Urban Future. "Part of what we're seeing is probably out of necessity as big companies cut back and lay people off, there aren't a lot of great jobs out there, but also part of it is that technology is really giving people a platform to go out and work on their own."

"It is easier than ever to work remotely thanks to access to WiFi, and technologies such as Skype, web-based conference software and collaboration tools," adds Lydia Dishman, a freelance business journalist and regular contributor toFast Company.

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As for the neighborhood breakdown of self-employed workers, the study reports that the Bronx had the largest percentage increase in self-employment since 2000, as Manhattan has seen a decrease in the same period. Brooklyn, meanwhile, is by far the most popular home for freelancers and entrepreneurs, housing 72,503 self-employed workers, more than any other borough.

"I think a lot of freelancers are attracted to the creative community [in Brookyln]," says Bowles. "People can work from anywhere these days, and they're choosing to do so in Brooklyn because it's got a high quality of life."

Still, while some continue to believe that freelancers and self-employed workers are given certain freedoms that full-time employees are not, Dishman stresses that "self-employment is a business and no one builds a successful company without discipline, structure, and a lot of hard work. Not to mention time off means no pay."

 
 
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